So, how did your Christmas and the New year go?

It has to be said there was an obvious absence of bicycles on the road over the festive period. At least our motoring friends cannot say that the cyclists were all over the road. Hopefully our motoring friends with the sight of snow and ice will realise that they have to conduct themselves as responsible drivers and realise that the horsepower they have beneath them should be treated with the utmost respect.

And where is first port of call on the year ahead ahead?

St. Anne’s Park in Raheny provides the sparlke in our eyes this weekend with the Cyclo Cross Championship in pole position. And, just in case the avis reader only goes beyond the first paragraph! Weather conditions will dictatre on the day, sp please keep your eyes browsed on www.irishcycling.com for updates re the championships, this is only a precautionary warning, but as of now the course is okay but between now and Sunday it could go one way or the other and like ourt four legged friends, racing at Punchestown is very doubtful over the weekend. So, please keep on eye on the favourite website thast keeps you posted on domestic matters and the odd international flavour tips in now and again.

Dublin City University Cycling Club have come along way since they were formed and similiar to other universities throughout the country in the academic world they have created a real buzz.

In terms of academic life and sport they are not the ugly sisters and are up there with the best if not the best.
On Sunday, with one major undertaking under their belt a year nago they have come the full circle with the national championship promotiom in St. Anne’s Park, Raheny and according to the race organiser, Greg May, it will finish on the Boulevard of the park.

As race organiser Greg was so enthusiastic when I interrupted at a function during the week.

“Sure it is a big undertaking to run a national championship and one that starts off the decade. The big problem facing us at the moment is the weather. It is literally (tell me) causing mayhem with a capital M. The course is 3km in distance and whilst it may be a real technical course it will afford the competitors ample room to manouever and show their skills.

Racining gets under way at mid day with the underage coming out the blocks and then the seniors go for it at one o’clock.

“As you are aware we ran a race here and whilst it was a success, we are stepping up to the mark with this big effort,” said Greg. Noticed a nice catch line in the blurb about the race, Will you fall foul to the surging Naniken River? Will you stop to visit the Herculanean Temple? Or, will you just visit the Duck Pond?

Of course the big news from a participant viewpoint is that holder and one of the best at the discipline for the last 18 years and no it is not a mistake. It is indeed 18 years that Robin Seymour of Team Worc has graced these championships. Admittedly, hbe has won 16 which should be included in the Guinness Book of Records. In all probability no one will break the 10 barrier let alone 16 and I still think that he has gas in the tank, maybe to make it 20 before he finally hangs up the wheels. There have been many pretenders to the crown, but only Roger Aiken found a clink in his armoury in the last number of years. There’s a touch of the Lance Armstrong about him and that comes with success, by all accounts.

Thankfully Robin is fit and well, but by all accounts he is citing personal reasons  for his non participation. Also his good friend and fellow competitor Greg May is the man with the baton in his hand on Sunday.

The mantle of favourite now rests on the shoulders of Roger Aiken who gave hope to many by defeating Robin on only two of the occasions that Robin succumbed to been in the rear gusrd. Like Robin, Roger is a mastewr tasctician when it comes to this discilpline but equally he is at home on the road with both of them donning the green singlet in intgernational competition on road, but Roger has one in the bank when it comes to winning a stage of the FBD Insurance Ras into Emyvale all of five years ago. Or could be a reshape of the results with Connor McConvey, Ryan Sherlock, Lewis Ferguson, Joe McCall and a rapidly improving Evan Ryan making the event a blue print for the future! Only time will tell. But, my money is on Aiken to complete the trio! Wonder what odds he’ll come in at.

Details:
Irish Cyclocross Championships 2009

Event: St Anne’s Cyclocross Race

Hosted by: Dublin City University Cycling Club

Sponsors: Bike-Pure (http://bikepure.org/),
Schlamm Clothing (http://www.schlamm.uk.com/schlamm/)

Date: January 10th, Course open from 11am.

Sign on: From 10:30am.

Race details: Underage – 12pm (non championship race).
All other categories – 1pm (Senior men, women, veterans, juniors)

Note: in the case that there are not enough riders to validate a national championship being held, riders will compete within the race as normal, but no for championship status.

Entries: As this is a national championship entries are available on the day to all Cycling Ireland Members in accordance with Cycling Ireland rules:

(a) Members of Cycling Ireland with a Full Competition Licence
(Cool Members of a UCI affiliated federation with an IRL UCI code.
(c) Members of Cycling Ireland with a Club or Restricted Competition Licence, who have taken the appropriate one day licence for the day of the championship.
(d) Members of a UCI affiliated federation with a UCI code other than IRL who have a defined residency qualification in Northern Ireland.

Note: Riders with NO Cycling Ireland race licence may NOT avail of a one day licence to race on the day. A Cycling Ireland Commissar will be present on the day to field any questions.

Rules: The race will be held in accordance with Cycling Ireland rules as regards to cyclo-cross which are available on the Cycling Ireland website (Chapter 9, Rules 2009, Feb 09, V16). Please note:

Chapter 9, article 28: Only bikes described in the Equipment Regulations Appendix AT2 as “cyclo cross bikes” may be used in the National Cyclo Cross Championships.

Sign on: Sign on and prize giving will be hosted within the Red Stables complex within the park, prize giving will also be presented here after the race. Cost of entry is €20 per rider, €5 of which will be donated to our sponsors Bike-Pure. Please note cyclists are not to enter the sign on area wearing cycling shoes.

Parking: Parking is located at two places within the grounds of the park. The Red Stables car-park on Mount Prospect Avenue, and the costal car-park on James Larkin Road.

Area Closures: Certain sections of the park will be taped off for safety reasons to avoid clashes between cyclists and pedestrians. All major junctions with pathways will be marshalled and still passable by the public.

• Please KEEP DOGS ON A LEAD near racing cyclists
• Keep an eye out for cyclists while crossing junctions or taped areas
• Bring other to come along to support the race and the riders

Further information will be made available in the coming days on:
www.mtbireland.com

There are many stories about the origins of cyclo-cross. One is that European road racers in the early 1900s would race each other to the next town over from them and that they were allowed to cut through farmer’s fields, over fences or take any other shortcuts in order to make it to the next town first. This was sometimes called steeple chase as the only visible landmark in the next town was often the steeple. This was a way for them to stay in shape during the winter months and put a twist on road racing. In addition, riding off road in more difficult conditions than smooth pavement increased the intensity at which the cyclists were riding and improved their on-the-road bike handling abilities. Forced running sections, or portage, were incorporated to help deliver warm blood to the feet and toes, as well as exercise other groups of muscles.

Wicklow 200.

The 2010 Wicklow 200 will start and finish in County Wicklow. Shoreline Leisure Centre in Greystones is the venue. The centre has a large sports hall where we can do check in for the start and finish.
Greystones is just 20 Kilometres south of UCD, off the N11, and would you believe it, just 156 days plus hours/minutes/seconds to the big day.

RTE Sports Programme 22nd December

Many people have commented to me about the absence of a mention about the late Paul Healion who died in a car accident back in August. The sports programme on RTE about the highlights of the year was screened on the 22nd. Other notable figures who passed away during the year were accorded a farwell.

WEATHER
So many cancellations over the festive period when so many were keen to dislodge the cobwebs. As Eurovision dual winner would say ”Whar’s Another Year.” Still it can omly get better.

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